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DEGGIAL

Therion

Progressive Metal


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Therion Deggial album cover
3.75 | 96 ratings | 10 reviews | 22% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 2000

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Seven Secrets of the Sphinx (3:35)
2. Eternal Return (7:11)
3. Enter Vril-Ya (6:38)
4. Ship of Luna (6:29)
5. The Invincible (5:09)
6. Deggial (5:04)
7. Emerald Crown (5:30)
8. The Flight of the Lord of Flies (1:22)
9. Flesh of the Gods (4:06)
10. Via Nocturna (Part I: The Path + Part II: Hexentanz) (9:33)
11. O Fortuna (Carl Orff cover) (3:22)

Total Time:57:59

Line-up / Musicians

- Christofer Johnsson / guitar, keyboards, composer (excl. 11), arrangements
- Kristian Niemann / guitar
- Johan Niemann / bass guitar
- Sami Karppinen / drums

With:
- Hansi Kürsch / lead vocals (9)
- Jan Kazda / acoustic guitar, arrangements
- Waldemar Sorychta / acoustic guitar (11)
- Alexander Schimmeroth / piano
- Daniel Häcker / drums

- Jorg Brauker, Dorothee Fischer, Georg Hansen, Eileen Kupper, Angelika Marz, Miguel Rosales, Anne Tribulth, Javier Zapater / chorus vocals

- Stefanie Dietz / oboe
- John Ellis / French horn
- Annette Gadatsch / flute
- Dietrich Geese / tuba, Sousaphone, trumpet
- Volker Goetz / flugelhorn, trumpet
- Konstantin Wienstroer / contrabass

The Indigo String Quartet :
- Heike Haushalter / violin
- Petra Stalz / violin
- Monika Malek / viola
- Gese Hangen / cello

Releases information

Artwork: Nico & Theresa

CD Nuclear Blast ‎- NB 442-2 (2000, Germany)

LPx2 Nuclear Blast ‎- NB 442-1 (2000, Germany)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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THERION Deggial ratings distribution


3.75
(96 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(22%)
22%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
41%
Good, but non-essential (29%)
29%
Collectors/fans only (6%)
6%
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)
1%

THERION Deggial reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by semismart
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars OPERATIC METAL! Sounds like a contradiction of terms, doesn't it? Well, I suppose it was until January 21st of 1997 when, to the best of my knowledge, Operatic Metal was born, created, invented, whatever with the release of Theli: http://www.epinions.com/content_103591153284. The album Theli was the fifth by the DEATH METAL band known as Therion.

Though Therion, as a Death Metal band, had a loyal following, they were at a dead end and on the ropes. Add to that the fact that band leader Chris Johnsson kept losing band members. You see Death Metal by it's very nature is self limiting and sometime poverty inducing but Johnsson is a visionary and he had been working on some new ideas and in a move that seems improbable in today's world, his small record company unconditionally released him from their contract so he could pursue his ideas with the much larger Nuclear Blast Record Company.

Things get even more improbable when the executive for the new record company gave Johnsson a large budget for his new project, ostensibly stating that he was interested more in the quality of music than profits!(record producers of America take note - product over profits).

And so on January 21st 1997, Christofer Johnsson's vision became a reality and for Therion it was out with the Death Metal and in with their new sub-genre Operatic Symphonic Metal for them and the benefication of the World. Now this was not truly Operatic music in the normal sense but with a confluent merging of Classical melodies and classical instruments with heavy metal and augmenting the singers with both male and female choirs, the sound is eminently Operatic sounding and it is delicious.

This review is about Deggial the fifth release by the reconstituted Therion and the tenth overall. Deggial was released in March of 2000 and is tied with Vovin as my second favorite Therion album. Things are moving along swimmingly. Christofer Johnsson is happy, the record company is happy, the band is happy, the fans, well most anyway, are happy. Of course there had to be a few from the Death Metal days that think, what's that cliche, they sold out. God I wish we could get a few American bands to sell out like this.

As you might suspect, with the cash registers chinging and clanging away that the budgets keep getting bigger and the productions are getting more elaborate. Now instead of classical ensembles, full orchestras are used. The Choirs have also grown in size and prestige. Therion (Greek for Beast)is indeed in a state ascending popularity and that is with a minimum impact from America.

I hope you can comprehend the enormity of Christofer Johnsson's accomplishments. Therion's new music is so different from their old music it defies comprehension. It's like a lifelong Democrat voting Republican. Like Johnsson got a sex change or a brain transplant. Like he has been possessed by the Ghost of Beethoven or Mozart reincarnated. Christofer Johnsson has become a musical savant. He is, in my opinion, one of Europe's burgeoning musical genii. Mysterious forces seem to be at work here.

Suffice to say, that should a group like Therion receive even a modicum boost from the media, though they may not hit top forty charts, they certainly could be as big as Yanni, Enigma or Dream Theater in America as well.

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really. Now I am no fan of the genre but this one struck my ears as a little different - although I rarely hear any of those progmetal bands , I don't really know if this is unique/oneofakind stuff but to me this sounds different. In normal non-metal prog , I can only think of Par Lindh 's second album Mundus Incompertus that could approach (but not come close to it) to this style of music. The fact is that the singing makes the difference (but it does also in After Forever) but the music is also less metal-like (or so it seams because the intricaties of the music on this album. I rarely review progmetal , because it is a language I have yet to grasp (chances are that I never will because I will never try hard enough - shame on me!) but I did find this entertaining enough to listen to it twice ansd occasionally ask my friend to replay it when I come over to his house . I have heard stuff before that album was less (or not at all) prog and some stuff after this album had not the same feeling
Review by horza
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars After hearing so much ABOUT them I decided to investigate the band for myself. 'Deggial' seemed as good a place as any to start. The opening track 'Seven secrets of the sphinx' has become a favourite of mine recently. I love the operatic/symphonic feel. Reminds me of some Nightwish and Epica. A mid-tempo track but still rousing at full volume,just ask my neighbours. 'Eternal Return' starts off in a very sombre,almost funereal mood. At almost seven minutes long it only ups the pace in the last minute or so. This track might not encourage you to listen on, but the third, 'Enter Vril-Ya' is definitely better. A nice driving tempo,good drums and over the top female operetta,what more could you ask for? The title track 'Deggial' is not as strong as the opener, and the album should have been called 'Seven secrets' in my opinion. If your first experience of this album is 'The flight of the lord of the flies' you may well dismiss this album as a mish-mash of ideas. 'Flesh of the Gods' sounds in parts like the Scorpions meets Nightwish. Is that Klaus Meine on vocals? 'O Fortuna' by Orff is stunning in its original form. This track was MADE for Therion and should have been better. However, something was missing and an opportunity lost for a climactic finale. Make your own mind up,give it a listen,but I wanted to like this album more. It's certainly ambitious.Three and a half stars.
Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars My first excursion into the world of Therion and I've really enjoyed it. "Deggial" is a very powerful prog-metal album with lots to digest. You'll find speed, chunky power, operatic vocals, choirs, soft acoustic interludes, classical instruments, and plenty of magic and mystery. You'll also find melody in spades, the elixir that will make you fall in love with these strange little mini-operas.

"Seven Secrets" begins with one of the nastiest ominous riffs you've ever heard and the beautiful dark operatic vocals. Some will be put off by the "Omen" style vocals but after a little getting used to they're very cool and preferable to growling for me. "Eternal Return" begins with gorgeous acoustic before another catchy riff fires up leading to some lovely female vocals. "Enter Vril-ya" proves that someone in the band is a closet Malcolm Young fan, because 55 seconds in you will find rhythm guitars extracted straight from the Malcolm Young playbook. Hilarious. Sadly though it's one of the weaker tracks and also the one chosen for a sound clip here, so please don't write off the album because of the sound sample. There are far better tracks. "Ship of Luna" features violins with subdued background drums before plunging off the abyss into a dreamy acoustic fog, so nice. "The Invincible" is a mix of choirs and classical instruments eclipsed by a gorgeous acoustic guitar and drums around 2 minutes. Then the vocals come back in with the male and female vocals trading off, all very melodic and peaceful. And the rest of the album continues in the same vein. That's one thing about Deggial is that the sound is consistent throughout, so if you don't dig the operatic metal hybrid, you're in trouble. On the other hand, if you do you're in for a real treat beginning to end.

The highlight is probably the 9 ½ minute "Via Nocturna part 1 and 2" which perfectly utilizes organ, strings, flutes, oboe, French horns, piano, and of course great rock guitar for the most fully realized example of what Deggial has to offer. Sweeping and majestic composition that competes just fine with that of their most talented contemporaries.

The metal here is really just the framework for the embellishments of the classical and choir stuff. Were those things not here, the metal below the surface would have to have more going on to be interesting to me. It isn't exactly "Remedy Lane" in terms of the rock instrumental complexity but with the embellishments it doesn't need to be. Because together the simple metal base and the lush embellishments create one of the most beautiful metal albums I've ever heard and it earns the 4th star by being able to combine delicate beauty with crushing heaviness all in the same moment.

Recommended to all rock fans, metal or not, who are looking for an interesting take on metal music. Something decidedly different from the other metal titles they may have heard in the past. The CD booklet will give you all of the lyrics which explore strange dark themes. No sappy fixed-grin lyrics here, these are dark and mysterious. If not to your taste then simply enjoy the music and ignore the lyrics.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Deggial is another strong Therion's album from their Symphonic Metal period. Both roots ( death metal and church chorals+ Carl Orff) are very visible there.

Music is quite good balanced mix of earlier Therion's death/heavy metal and opera vocals with guitar drive and cold Wagnerian atmosphere. The music will be good soundtrack for vampyres movies , or some middle-ages thrillers. But, in fact, it's even more serious product,then just such soundtrack.

I think there is one of rare cases of successfull mixture made from heavy metal and classical music. Also historicaly looking, the album is some step in transition from first Therion Operatic Sympho Metal albums to their masterpieces of Lemuria/Sirius B, album by itself is perfect product as well.

Very recommended to anyone searching for rare successful mixtures between metal music and classics. Not the best Therion album, but the one between the good works.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars "Deggial tell the truth that man is but a Beast"

With Therion's star rising ever higher, Christofer Johnsson secured even greater funding for the recording of the band's ninth official album. As a result, he brought in a full orchestra for the first time (previous releases had included a strings orchestra only) in addition to the now traditional choirs and soloists. The album took 3 months to record, the emphasis being placed on exploring in even greater depths the symphonic aspects of Therions' music. Once again, Johnsson takes the opportunity to refresh the line up, with Kristian Niemann coming in on lead guitar, Johan Niemann on bass and Sami Karppinen on drums. The arrival of the Neimann brothers would signal the beginning of a relatively stable period in the line up of the band.

The opening bars of "Seven secrets of the sphinx" give little indication of any symphonic aspects, and indeed indicate that this will also be a generally darker and heavier outing for Therion. The following "Eternal return" is more in keeping with albums such as "Theli" and "Vovin", but even here, the sound actually seems a little sparser. It is only when we get to "Enter Vril-Ya" that the symphonic aspects start to come to the fore, the strings and massed choir combining to deliver a piece with true might.

"Ship of Luna" begins with a "Mars" (Holst) like drum rhythm before switching completely to become an acoustic based number. The combination of acoustic foundation and choral voices works well here. As the song unfolds, it reveals itself as one of Therion's most complex, and indeed progressive pieces. The power is notched up further for the regal "The invincible", which floats along on a series of mystical lyrics. Quite why the title track seems a little different is difficult to explain, but while the vocals are of the usual choral type, the instrumentation has an alternative feel to it. Midway through, the song burst open in a rip- roaring romp to the end.

As a title, "Emerald crown" sails close to Rhapsody territory, but the song itself is actually one of the softer ones, more of a ballad really. At less than 1½ minutes, the instrumental "The Flight of the Lord of Flies" is the shortest track on the album by far. The piece seems to be a sort of variation on "The flight of the bumble bee".

"Flesh of the Gods" features guest lead vocals by Hansi Kürsch, the balance of the song leaning back towards the heavier rock orientation of the band. The centrepiece of the album is the 2 part, 9½ minute "Via Nocturna". The pixie inspired lyrics (written throughout the album by Thomas Karlsson) talk of walks in strange forests and a queen of the night called Lilith. The images are well buried though in an epic mix of orchestration, chorales and dramatic guitar blasts. In the best ways of prog, the song take some time to reveal itself, but as it does we discover a magnificent cornucopia of all which defines Therion.

The final track is a cover of Carl Orff's "O Fortuna", an operatic piece which will be familiar even to those who do not recognise the name. The rendition here calls upon all the power of choir and orchestra, while also featuring some fine acoustic guitar.

The album was a commercial success as expected, but despite the major investment this time, it actually sold less than "Vovin". Quite why this should be is not immediately obvious, as the album fulfils all expectations. Perhaps the more of the same aspect meant that some fans felt the originality of Therion was waning. If so, that would be a great pity, as this is a mighty album.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
3 stars I had ignored this album for the very reasons that Easy Livin pointed out in his review: I was amongst the fans that saw Therion gradually losing their originality and creativity. I had really enjoyed Theli and Vovin but a number of reasons had made me do big detours around anything called Therion from 1999 onwards: the repetitive approach of Vovin, the stop-gap called The Crowning of Atlantis and the assembly line product Lemuria/Sirius B.

As I had expected, there's nothing on offer that we haven't heard on other Therion albums, but the crunchy guitar work from new axe man Kristian Niemann is good improvement. His galloping NWOBHM riffs kick Therion out of its imminent lethargic state. In fact, due to its energy boost, this album sounds more like a follow up for Theli then Vovin did. The songs have a lot more metal punch in them and there's more variation.

Next to the guitarist, also the choir and orchestra are a real treat and generally, Therion sound like a band having lots of fun at what they are doing again. The opener Seven Secrets is the best song on the album and serves as an excellent example: crisp guitars, big choir arrangements and good melodies. Eternal Return goes for a more gentle approach, a bit musical-alike at times but with occasional up-tempo parts that seem to come straight out of Iron Maiden and Rainbow albums.

Enter Vril-Ya is a classic hard rock stomp. As usual with Therion, they know how to make the most out of a simple idea. The choir is really excellent here, dark and menacing. In fact, as the closing track of the album proves, it all seems to come right out of the Carmina Burana: songs about drinking, lust, gluttony and similar types of medieval fun.

The quality goes a bit up and down. Some songs like Ships of Luna and The Invincible rely too heavily on the effect made by the overwhelming arrangements and big choirs , probably in order to hide that the songwriting isn't all that impressive really. Still, there are good moments, like Deggial that saves itself from anonymity by a good tempo change at the end.

The short Lord of Flies is a little energetic piece and one of the highpoints. With Flesh of the Gods they put in a stab of shameless hairmetal that is simply irresistible. The fun they had with this one is no less than contagious. Via Nocturna is a typical Therion track that I've simply heard too much by now. They handled the Orff cover O Fortuna with their usual good judgement, not too bombastic (a relative thing), with just some celestial rock drums accompanying the choir and orchestra. Works for me.

From this album onwards things declined rapidly for Therion. The following albums might still appeal to die-hard fans or to people not familiar with Therion, but for anyone else they're unnecessary. The conclusion stands that Therion stopped evolving after Vovin, but with Deggial they at least added a nice selection of songs to their canon. Not their best but a good album nevertheless and not a bad start for Therion newbies.

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars One transitional album as a band evolves between styles is an acceptable indulgence; two in a row feels excessive. If you dug the preceding Vovin, Deggial offers up more of the same, but for me I felt that Therion still hadn't quite become comfortable with the more purely symphonic metal approach (with nary a trace of their death metal roots) they utilise here and on the preceding album. Still, Therion don't quite manage to exhaust my patience with them - in particular, Kristian Niemann shows this uncanny knack for coming in with a really interesting guitar solo just as my finger is wavering towards the "skip" button - but alas, that isn't quite good enough to stop me pressing it.
Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars After the guitar galloping mix of metal and symphonic classical opera on "Theli," THERION catapulted itself into the metal big leagues and quickly went on tour but after a couple albums of leftovers and the much mellower vibe on the true followup "Vovin," it seemed THERION was mellowing out and gravitating more towards the opera and neglecting its metal head banging duties. On the band's ninth album DEGGIAL there is a quickened beeline back to the metal aspects of the band that helped it evolve into its unique hybrid in the first place. DEGGIAL (or Dejjial) refers to an evil figure in Islamic eschatology which will purportedly come into being and pose as the true Messiah and so THERION once again addresses the metaphysical and occult themes as it has from the beginning.

At this point band leader Christofer Johnsson had become very aware of how stale this sort of metal opera thing could become and was taking the time to innovate interesting compositions that set the perfect balance between classic metal guitar riffs inspired by old school metal such as Iron Maiden, Did or Accept but was also careful not to repeat styles too often and therefore was finding grittier sounds mined from more progressive thinking metal bands like Celtic Frost or Voivod. While still completely steeped in the expected operatic classical sounds that defined their new style of symphonic metal, DEGGIAL consists not only of four band members at this point but includes four guest musicians, eight members of the choir and an orchestra that finds another eleven musicians adding their stamp to the ornate tapestry of sound that emerges from the eleven tracks presented.

What sets DEGGIAL apart form albums like "Theli" and "Vovin" is that it finds some sort of middle ground between the two extremes. "Theli" has always seemed like a metal album where the operatic elements are competing for domination and "Vovin" on the other hand feels like the operatic touches won the battle while they kept the metal heft on a leash. On DEGGIAL the two disparate styles have signed a truce and conspire to eke out the best of each other with no competitive bravado dampening the ceremonious harmonic possibilities. On the metal side of the equation, the guitar, bass and drumming are more diverse as they tackle elements of classic 80s metal, alternative metal as well as moments of thrash, speed metal and gothic rock. For the classical choirs, there is a lot more emphasis placed upon more integrate harmonies that usually involve a male and female counterpoint with the rest of the vocalists occasionally creating a more polyphonic approach.

There are also more wind instruments on this one with flute, oboe as well as heavier brass with a French horn, flugelhorn, trumpet and tuba. While many tracks in the recent past mostly were set on simmer with mellow folk or slow ratcheting divas singing over softly strummed guitars or the exact opposite with blistering metal with guitar solos, DEGGIAL offers many styles within individual tracks. "Seven Secrets Of The Sphinx" begins with a heavy guitar riff and male tenors but is then joined in by a rather progressive psychedelic keyboard run and woodwinds, a clear sign that the compositions have been crafted in a way that is much more inventive. Just in the first track alone there are many different movements with varying guitar riffs, vocal performances as well as uses for the other instruments. This only continues throughout the album as "Eternal Return" follows with a slow vocal choir performance accompanied only by a violin and double bass but then drifts into a folk sound and then again breaks out the Maiden inspired metal riffing.

The title track is one of the stranger ones as it adds some sort of sound effect that sounds like a Jew's harp along with the choirs. The track is slow and sensual but the towards the end cranks out some crushing metal heft with the divas and violins joining in the quickened pace. While both heavy and softer passages are readily available, DEGGIAL delivers the exact right juxtaposition of opposite polarities and paces things extremely well. "The Flight Of The Lord Of Flies" is THERION's answer to "Flight Of The Bumblebee" and is a feisty rocker that rocks the violin, soprano vocals and guitar shredding. It's short and sweet and makes a great introduction to the heavy metal thunder of "Flesh Of The Gods" which finds Blind Guardian's Hansi Kürsch on vocals along with the operatic divas minus the classical instrumentation. The lengthy "Via Nocturna (Part I and II)" at just shy of 10 minutes is the most progressive track as it sounds like an authentic metal opera that mixes metal segments with unadulterated opera, folk and progressive rock. The album close with a cover of Orff's "O Fortuna" from his famous cantata "Carmina Burana."

For my money, DEGGIAL is a step up from both "Theli" and "Vovin," both of which were excellent in their own right but on this one the creative juices were dialed up a few notches where every inspiration from both the metal universe and the annals of the world of classical and opera where also raided. The way that the music works in tandem is absolutely brilliant and there are only a few moments where i feel a few notes were misplaced and it derails the flow but those are few and far between. For the most part this one is smooth sailing and Johnsson proves that he had the mojo to take things to the next level instead of constantly retreading on the success of "Theli" and "Vovin." While DEGGIAL won't sound radically different from previous albums in many ways, to a trained ear that listens to the detailed elements and how they interact it is quite staggering. For the casual listener this will come across as a highly melodic mix of classic heavy metal with a symphonic orchestra and talented choir. Either way, this is a divine and dramatic recording that ranks high on my list of THERION favorites.

4.5 rounded down

Latest members reviews

5 stars This time the band had the budget to further expand the concept of symphonic metal with the use of more various instruments (brass/wind instruments, orchestra drums and broader string section). The "metal" parts sound more like 80s NWOBHM - a bit heavier and more recognizable. A great release. ... (read more)

Report this review (#67158) | Posted by zaxx | Saturday, January 28, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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